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Expand chart
Reproduced from NPR; Table: Axios Visuals

The impact of tariffs has been difficult to quantify because U.S. retailers that pay them can choose whether or not to pass the costs on to customers.

In an effort to show how one quintessentially American business is handling the issue, NPR tracked prices at a Georgia Walmart over the course of a year.

The big picture: "When it comes to the prices inside NPR's tariff-inspired shopping cart, the average price change since August 2018 was a 3% increase," write NPR's Alina Selyukh and Charlotte Norsworthy. "That's almost double the current rate of inflation."

Yes, but: Prices haven't moved uniformly in one direction.

  • Over the past year the price tags on some items included in the "NPR basket" — a mix of items from across the store drawn up after consulting the 2018 lists of tariffs the White House imposed on imports from China, Mexico and Canada — actually got smaller.
  • "The two most expensive Chinese-made items in NPR's basket got cheaper: a TV by 12% and a microwave by 17%. That's because TVs and other electronics have been getting cheaper for years," per NPR.

Why it matters: "Many makers and sellers have so far chosen to absorb most of the tariffs, spread them across dozens of items, or pressure suppliers to bear more of the burden. Big U.S. retailers — such as Walmart, Target and others — get the final say on the price tags, and for them, jolting shoppers with price hikes is the last resort," they write.

My thought bubble: The fact that average prices of the NPR basket have risen by about double the rate of inflation suggests the tariffs are playing a role in increased prices even at a retail behemoth like Walmart.

Go deeper: NPR shopping cart economics: How prices changed at a Walmart in 1 year

Go deeper

Private colleges across America can't pay their bills

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Behind the scenes in colleges across the U.S., institutions are having trouble paying their bills.

Why it matters: There’s a reckoning coming in higher education — especially for smaller, private liberal arts schools — that’s been years in the making. In obvious ways, COVID accelerated some of the trends, but college finances have been hurting for a while.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
44 mins ago - Health

Special report: America's biggest hospitals vs. their patients

Expand chart
Data: JHU; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

More than a quarter of the 100 U.S. hospitals with the highest revenue sued patients over unpaid medical bills between 2018 and mid-2020, according to new research by Johns Hopkins University provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: The report suggests that, rather than being an anomaly, patient lawsuits are relatively common across the country and among the largest providers.

44 mins ago - Technology
Column / Tech Agenda

The next big social network: Nextdoor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nextdoor, the neighborhood social network, has seen explosive growth over the past two years as homebound users became more fixated on what was happening on a hyper-local level.

Why it matters: Such rapid growth comes with challenges. What was once a niche social network is now so popular that it's grappling with some of the same thorny problems plaguing Facebook and Twitter, such as content moderation.